On the other hand, if liberals genuinely want to permanently reduce the power of unelected justices and make the House more democratically responsive, they’ll seek reforms that don’t just attempt to grab back liberalism’s lost advantages. Term limits for Supreme Court justices are one obvious example of a neutral reform that might weaken juristocracy. Similarly, there are structural reforms to the House, like a big expansion of the number of representatives and the abolition of the single-member district, that could increase democratic accountability without obviously serving either coalition’s partisan interests.
Of course, liberal ambitions will also be shaped by what conservatives are doing with their present power. A conservatism that seeks to widen its narrow coalition and practices the judicial restraint it preaches might open more space for reforms that aren’t just one-sided grabs for partisan power. A conservatism that skips gleefully down the countermajoritarian path, embracing voting restrictions and judicial activism at every opportunity, will inevitably encourage purely partisan countermeasures from liberals.
The latter is more likely; the former more desirable. And because we are something of a juristocracy, the choices of one man, Brett Kavanaugh, will play an outsize role in determining which scenario we get.